September 7


September 7, 2021

The Rooks County Board of Commissioners met in regular session.  Commissioners present were:  Chairman, John Ruder; and Members, Greg Balthazor and Tim Berland.  Ruthmary Muir, Rooks County Clerk, was present to write the minutes.  Virgi Laska, with the Stockton Sentinel, was also present.  Ruder asked all to rise and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.  The agenda was accepted.  David Becker was present as a guest.

Before the meeting, Gary Knight, Rooks County Sheriff, mentioned that the drug dog that Rooks County has been waiting on will not be available.  The trainers will start over with a new pup. 

The Commissioners reviewed the minutes of August 31st. Ruder made a motion to approve the minutes of August 31st with a minor adjustment.  Berland seconded the motion, and Balthazor agreed.  After the minutes were printed, Balthazor made a motion to sign the corrected minutes of August 31st.  Ruder seconded the motion, and Berland agreed. 

 David Becker gave a report about the “Big Boy” Steam Locomotive that has been through Kansas east to west with several stops.  The Big Boy 4014 was taking its trip from New Orleans to the west coast, with several people getting the chance to see the steam engine in action. 

In weekly reports, Greg Balthazor reported some nice rains that would seem to help.  Balthazor has several meetings coming up this month:  Juvenile Justice/Community Corrections, Work Force One, Economic Development, and the NW Kansas Highway Officials as well.  Berland had attended the NW Kansas Planning & Development Board meeting by zoom earlier in the week.  He reported Trego County had hired a new Economic Development Director.  Berland had listened to a road concern about R Road from Damar to the Zurich blacktop (10 Road).  This will be relayed to the Road Supervisor.  Berland had also fielded some questions about the county budget mill levy and the new Revenue Neutral Rate statute.  Ruder reported the nursing home 501c3 Board will be holding a couple of interviews in the next few days for the nursing home administrator’s position. 

Heather Poore, Rooks County Appraiser, updated the Commissioners with information and a report about the platting project.  Clint Offutt, GIS Specialist, has re-platted everything within the city limits.  Three hundred (300) parcels will swing significantly.  The project will need to continue with the mapping of some surveys.  Poore requested some funding from the GIS Fund to use for this project.  The cost would be about $4,000 for 150 changes.  She is expecting 300 – 400 changes.  Ruder made a motion to allow Heather Poore $4,000 out of the GIS funds for 2022 for platting reviews.  Balthazor seconded the motion, and Berland agreed. 

The Commissioners received a letter from the Kansas Association of Counties (KAC) with a form to fill out with the voting delegate, along with a first and second alternate.  The form was filled out with Ruder as the voting delegate; Balthazor and Berland as first and second alternates.  The delegates would be able to vote for their county at the 46th Annual Kansas Association of Counties Conference & Exhibition slated for October 4, 2021 in Overland Park, KS. 

Rich Bouchey, Road Supervisor, was contacted by phone for any updates with his department.  Bouchey reported he had been fielding some phone calls that morning for inquiries about the equipment, etc. listed on the Purple Wave Auction.  One trailer did not make the sale because of a title error. 

Berland relayed the road concern with R Road clear to the Zurich blacktop (10 Road).

There was more discussion about mowers.  

Ruder made a motion to go into executive session to discuss non-elected personnel from 10:15 to 10:20 am.  Berland seconded the motion, and Balthazor agreed. Those present for the executive session were the Commissioners:  John Ruder, Greg Balthazor, and Tim Berland.  At 10:20 the session ended, and there was no further discussion. 

John Mapes, with Mapes and Miller, CPA’s, was present to discuss the Rooks County audit for the year ending December 31, 2020.  After going through the complete discussion draft, Ruder made a motion to approve the audit and have Mr. Mapes file the necessary paperwork to finalize the audit process.  Berland seconded the motion, and Balthazor agreed. 

Ruder made a motion to sign the representation letter back to the auditor provided in connection with the audit of the financial statement of the County of Rooks County, KS, which includes the summary statement of regulatory basis receipts, expenditures and unencumbered cash balances as of and for the year ended December 31, 2020 and the related notes to the financial statement, for the purpose of expressing an opinion as to whether the financial statement is presented fairly, in all material respects, in accordance with the financial reporting provision of the Kansas municipal audit and accounting guide.  Balthazor seconded this motion, and Berland agreed. 

Tracy Barton and Larry Townsend, representing KNRC (Kansas Natural Resource Coalition), were present to discuss their involvement with the coalition and request that Rooks County re-join the coalition.  The coalition was able to defeat KDWP a few years ago about the regulations KDWP wanted to impose with the lesser prairie chicken issue.  KNRC was able to get local control back.  KNRC wants to preserve without needing anyone telling them how to.  There are now fourteen (14) counties in the coalition, and at one time there were thirty-four (34) counties.  The coalition is also involved in a “Rails to Trails” accountability program to make sure the land returns back to the landowners.  KNRC is also monitoring NHA as well.  Membership dues have been reduced due to Covid and budget issues.  After the representatives left, Ruder made a motion to pay the membership dues of $3500 to KNRC.  Berland seconded the motion, and Balthazor agreed.   

Lori Eichman, Administrator for the Health Department, had received a letter (KORA request) requesting information that she is not sure if she can give out.  Eichman had received information from the County Attorney as to how to respond to the individual.  She will keep the Commissioners informed of the issue. 

Eichman updated the Board with the newest Covid numbers.  Rooks County has nine (9) active covid cases as of that morning. 

With no further business to transact, Ruder made a motion to adjourn the meeting.  Berland seconded the motion, and Baltazor agreed. 

Adopted this 14th day of September, 2021



John Ruder, Chairman                                                                                                    


Greg Balthazor, Member


Tim Berland, Member



Ruthmary Muir, Rooks County Clerk